Last February, when Sho came to promote his movie Yatterman, my friend amefurift and I got the chance to get press access to him. Originally we were going to be given the possibility of an interview, but then it turned into only being invited to the official press conference. Still good news!
While we were sitting and waiting for both him and the director, Takashi Miike, a Japanese reporter sat down behind us and began to chat. We were able to tell her a little about why we were there, and the fact that we were on the LJ community, and this is what apparently stuck in Y-san's mind, becasue she emailed me on April 8:
I ran into your LJ a couple weeks ago.
I think we spoke each other at NY comicon's press conference.
I am a Japanese reporter sitting behind your group.
One of my friends who works for FUJI TV is looking for Arashi fans in New York area.
They are planning to introduce Johnny's fans in the US in a short TV program.
If you are interested, please let me know.
Was I interested?
HECK YEAH! :D
We corresponded a few more times and then she put me in touch with her friend at FujiTV. For the next week, N-san and I corresponded by email, she asking me questions about why I like Johnny's group bands (of course my focus was Arashi), and what I did in my real life to show that. She was really interested in the US fanbase and how we got our information and shared it with each other.
So I told her about how I have a Japanese Club in my school and how we watch J-Dramas and I teach them a little Japanese. Then, I talked about how my friends and I do marathon karaoke sessions on Saturday from 1 PM to 8 PM. XD I mentioned how my friend amefurift were thinking about creating a podcast about Arashi, and our adventures in the fandom. I also pointed out that much of our fandom exists online, through things like the LJ communities, the Vox communities and forums like Aibakaland.
So she wrote back and told me that they definitely wanted to film me, my club, and karaoke, and would I meet with the director to discuss the details.
Yeah, that's exactly what my face looked like when I read the email. I was shocked beyond belief. The ramifications of this meeting could be extraordinary! Japanese TV wanted to see how much of a fanbase Johnny's groups had in the US. Could they finally seriously be thinking about considering America as a potential market?
And so, I come to the events which transpired today, 14 hours ago. T-san, the director, came to my school in the South Bronx - amazing in and of itself that she would come to my neighborhood at 8:00 in the morning - and sat in on my Japanese Club class. I introduced her to the kids - they had already been forewarned that she would be arriving, and of course, they greeted her with an additional enthusiasm I rarely see on any other day. We then proceeded to watch the very first episode of Uta no Oniisan. I was planning on showing this series next (we'd already watched Maou and Ryusei no Kizuna previously) and I began with my subbed episode.
Again, the kids were hilariously engaged. Normally, they do enjoy watching the different series that I show, but they rarely ask questions during the show, unless it's something they don't understand . But they were all chatty today, pointing out the fact that Ohno was the same actor in Maou, pointing to Prince Himuro and listing other dramas he's been in that they've seen, stuff like that.
After club was over, it was time for midterms for my kids - science exams! Luckily, since I'm the science teacher, all I had to do was make sure all the kids were set up in the classrooms with the proctoring teacher, and then I was free for a while. So I brought T-san to another room, and we began our discussion.
She asked me lots of questions, ranging from how I got into the fandom, what parts of it I was involved in, what fansites were out there, how did it incorporate into my real life experience, things like that. She was extremely pleasant and fun to talk to. I found out that she actually got to interview Sho Sakurai in person during the Yatterman preimere at NYComiCon, but I didn't want to see too "fangirly" and ask her "What was it like...?"
Towards the end of the interview, she hit me with another whammy.
Turns out, she had spoken to the Tokyo office about this project and they were very interested in this story as well. So instead of using the regular timeslot they have for the Japan in NY segment they'd use, they were giving her the entire entertainment slot for this. You know... the one they use when they are interviewing actual stars and movie premieres and brand new CDs? She said it was the most popular segment on the show and was viewed, on average, by about 20 million people, since the show was the top-rated morning show in Japan, pretty much nationwide.
Yeah. that face again, only this time it was inside me as I tried very hard not to react /too/ excited on the outside.
Oh yeah, the show is Mezamashi.
First, they are going to be filming me and a bunch of my online friends doing karaoke in Japanese on Friday. Originally, before that, they were going to film my Japanese club after school and then do karaoke, but T-san told me that Sano-san was coming from Japan and would not be able to make it by Friday, as he had other commitments, so could we reschedule for next Wednesday instead?
I admit my ignorance at this point. I did not know who Sano-san was, but I have been assured that he is very well known in Japan, and that his coming to the US is a BIG thing.
So, there is my news. ^.^;;
At this point in time, I don't know when it will be aired in Japan. I also don't know if they are going to be filming more than just the two things, as the director mentioned the possibility of even coming to one of my student's houses to film their room, seeing if they have Arashi posters having them make T-Shirts and/or uchiwas, talking to their family members. But at this point in time, I am also in a bit of a fugue. o.o I keep alternating between frenetic excitement and complete and utter tranquility. (Although the tranquil times are getting shorter and less frequent as the week progresses)
I am so excited about this. I sincerely hope I can help represent Arashi / Johnny's groups fandom well, and that my efforts will open up many doors here in the US that certain sweet yet dorky Japanese men might find their way through. ;)
(By the way, if you want to add me so that you can see future updates, please feel free to do so. No need to ask. ^.^)